Radio & Satellite

Why The Connected Car May Kill Local Radio

image from In the past, I have made the case that the connected car may kill traditional radio, because the addition of apps like Pandora and MOG will give it heavy competition. These apps may not kill radio, but it would be the first time since the rise of the personal music collection and satellite radio that radio will have to vie for mindshare in the car.

It's also possible, however, that radio will kill radio.

We take one thing for granted with radio stations, that they suffer from the tyranny of geography. In other words, we accept that we're limited to the stations that are located where where we live.

In the connected car though, any radio station is capable of being streamed or cached. Now, it's not just Pandora and MOG that listeners gain access to; it's any station, anywhere. As appealing as local talking heads and commercials are, it's easy to imagine that niche and national stations will steal their listeners.


With Clear Channel's buy out of Thumbplay and plans to integrate its technology into their "iheartradio" app, this is already happening. If I were to turn on a real radio, there's only five radio stations that I would be able to hear with any clarity.

Right now, I have my iPod Touch in a Dock playing stations from the "iheartradio" app. I have access to all cites, genres, and personalities. I am not listing to radio stations where I live. I am listening to one in New York. Once the connected car and radio apps are commonplace, it's possible that local listening will fall off a cliff. It's one thing to be stuck with the several stations in your area, constantly settling with whichever one is plays tolerable music. It's quite another to have nearly unlimited options and be able to tune into a station that you actually like.


The personalized radio revolution gets all the hype, but it's traditional radio that may start to kill traditional radio in the coming years. No fanfare, there's just more options. Once listeners have a choice, who says they'll pick your radio station?

Top 40, country, and classic rock stations all play the same songs anyway.

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  1. Thumbplay dont have any technology.. they are using a white label service for their product, thus this is why the purchase price was so low!

  2. Well, they were in the midst of developing a radio service when the buy out happened. I don't know if that was part of the white label system or not too, but they had a team working on something. 

  3. there are only 12MM vehicles sold a year worldwide. It’s going to be a slow death.

  4. enough with the “death” headlines! have you been in a cab lately in any major city or even a small town? All politics is local. local radio will never ever die as long as local politics exist. Radio isn’t just an outlet for music – and frankly, legally, it can’t die. Secondarily, the wireless signals used to send this message are radio waves. but that’s another comment for another time.

  5. people have been predicting the demise of local radio since the ’30s. but it’s exactly the “local” part that has made it indispensible.

  6. THANK YOU. He’s taking the “Death” trend to the limits. I could call him a DIGITAL FOOL, but that’s disrespectful and it wouldn’t matter. It’s still his website. BUT, if he keeps up the DEATH headline trend, chances are he could be proven WRONG. And the more he’s proven wrong, sooner or later, it will be the DEATH of “HYPE”BOT.

  7. I have to disagree. Indie music is huge right now with alot of indies taking home GRAMMYS. These get recognition not from the internet alone, but from LOCAL RADIO stations getting their CD and throwing it on and taking opinions from the masses. This trend will be hard to kill, even if you are in your connected car. Most children 15 and under still listen to radio because it is FREE and radios are cheap. They are the ones spending allowance on mp3s CDs and other things like tshirts.
    Andre from Idlewood
    Please “LIKE” my page and support local/indie music!

  8. I think you're missing the point of what local radio stations I'm talking about. There may always be local forms of radio, but there doesn't need to be a classic rock radio station in every town that just happens to announce the weather.

  9. Actually radio is killing the radio.
    A lot of times I can switch stations and hear the same song I tried to escape playing elsewhere.
    Sometimes I listen to it but mostly I am listening to CDs. Sure it’s “Old tech”, but it doesn’t matter if it is a CD, cassett player, or 8 track there is little difference than what you are talking about in your article.

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